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Kubrick’s Right-hand

from Daily. Beast

Stanley Kubrick’s Right-Hand Man Speaks: The Personal Toll of Working With a Genius

Leon Vitali’s career spent working alongside Stanley Kubrick is a case study of both selfless devotion and self-destructive mania. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Every serious cinephile is aware of Stanley Kubrick, but far fewer are familiar with Leon Vitali, the English co-star of Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon who, following that performance, became the auteur’s steadfast right-hand man. Doing everything asked of him by the legendarily meticulous filmmaker—from taking notes, creating marketing materials, and color-coding prints, to casting, rehearsing with stars, and acting himself—Vitali was the irreplaceable assistant who helped shepherd to the screen The Shining, Full Metal Jacketand Eyes Wide Shut, even as his vital role in those projects remained largely hidden from the public.

That situation is justly rectified by Tony Zierra’s Filmworker, a superb documentary about Vitali’s career alongside Kubrick that serves as a case study of both selfless devotion and self-destructive mania—as well as a much-deserved celebration of a true artist-behind-the-artist. And according to its subject, it certainly doesn’t overstate how uniquely demanding it was to work with one of cinema’s true geniuses.

“Balance is a word that rarely came into my vocabulary throughout my whole time, whether I was working with Stanley or not,” Vitali chuckles when speaking to me from Los Angeles, two days before Filmworker’s premiere (this Tuesday) at the New York Film Festival. “I’m just one of those people who gets quite emotional once they got locked into something. And some things take on proportions of life and death.” Though he found watching himself on screen in this form “a little bit weird,” he confesses, “I can honestly say it didn’t exaggerate, in any stretch of the imagination, how fraught or tense it could be. Or how time intensive.”

[ click to continue reading at Daily Beast ]

Posted on October 8, 2017 by Editor

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